Joint Health in Children: What You Need to Know

The human body is constructed of various load-bearing structures, including, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints. These structures are dynamically designed to work in symbiosis with one another to perform pretty remarkable tasks, like absorbing falls, protecting the internal organs, and performing physical maneuvers, like accelerating, jumping, stopping and balancing.shutterstock 594770048

Unfortunately, many non-ergonomic daily events, like sitting or slouching can cause imbalance, impingement and truncation of range of motion. These repeated, bio mechanically inefficient actions combined with a poorly balanced diet can lead to a bevy of chronic issues like Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gout. All ultimately lead to degeneration of the joint and drastically reduce functionality and range of motion.

To reduce and even eliminate the chance of the development of arthritic conditions, particularly juvenile arthritis, we must be proactive in keeping the joints healthy through the promotion of proper physical activity. Physical activity promotes dynamic recruitment of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which all support the joints, allowing for stable and prolonged health which is essential for children joint health. Physical activity also creates intuitive proprioceptive environments, which leads to loading the joint in to deep and lengthy ranges of motion. Range of motion is not an overnight fix however; as it takes patience, persistence, and dynamic modalities to adequately recruit the surrounding muscle fibers, which in time, will strengthen the joint throughout the full range.

There are several modalities to accomplish this goal, namely Static Stretching, Jumping (plyometrics), Weight Lifting/Bodyweight Exercises (Yoga) and Running. Studies have shown that even after signs of arthritis have begun, physical exercise, in a controlled and supervised environment, can strengthen the degenerative joint and mitigate the continuation of the arthritis.

Another major component of children joint health is diet. Far too often juvenile or early-onset arthritis is exacerbated by over consumption of inflammatory dietary choices, such as, a high intake of simple sugars. Calcium rich foods like dairy and meat products have shown to reduce the weakening of bones and Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish can reduce inflammation within the joint. Healthy movement is key to healthy living and healthy moving comes from healthy joints. 

 

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